Streptococci are bacteria that are widespread in Europe. Numerous pathogens can be traced back to this one bacterial strain, which can cause diseases as well as secondary diseases.
Children with a streptococcal infection not infrequently suffer secondary diseases such as scarlet fever in children or pharyngitis (throat inflammation). Then, in addition to the signs of an influenza infection, swallowing difficulties, pain in the throat and a rash are also present.
It is important to treat children with streptococcal infection. This is the only way to reduce the risk of heart and kidney disease.
Streptococci are a risk factor that lies dormant in everyone, because streptococci are bacteria that can be found in the throat, mouth, intestines and genital area. If children get streptococci – for example, because the immune defense is not sufficient – you should go to the doctor. How you can tell if your children have strep, we show you in this article.
1. Children with streptococcus also get childhood diseases such as scarlet fever
Streptococci is a bacterium that is spread by the so-called. Droplet infection widespread.
Most childhood illnesses have a viral origin. An infection with streptococci, on the other hand, is always due to bacteria from a specific bacterial strain. Transmission method number 1 is the Droplet infection, so when sneezing or coughing. In rare cases, your child may already be infected through shared dishes.
The greatest risk of infection is at school or kindergarten, although parents or siblings can also pass on the pathogen. In kindergarten or school, several children are often ill, after all, your child can be infected with streptococci quite easily.
Streptococcus pneumoniae, the pneumococcus bacterium, is on the Robert Koch Institute's list of reportable childhood diseases. For mandatory reporting in kindergarten, these special regulations apply: In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, streptococci must be reported even if there is no evidence of an acute infection. In Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, streptococci must be reported if they are detected. In Brandenburg, antigen detection is required to detect the pathogen.
About 20 percent of the population is infected with group A streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes), but they still do not show any signs of illness. The infections occur with striking frequency during the winter months, especially in three- to seven-year-old children. In this time the immune system is often already weakened by infections.
2. The streptococcal infection usually starts harmlessly, followed by other symptoms
The symptoms of a streptococcal infection are similar to a flu-like infection.
If children are infected with group A streptococci, a childhood disease such as tonsillitis or scarlet fever in children is usually not far away. In addition, an infection with streptococcus group A bacteria can also cause erysipelas or an infection of the upper respiratory tract. All these children's illnesses begin like a harmless flu-like infection, then gradually symptoms such as discomfort when swallowing and / or rashes are added.
These symptoms are also typical of strep throat in children:
– discomfort when swallowing, sore throat – discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract – fever, sometimes with chills – lymph nodes swell – rhinitis
The signs are largely non-specific, so you cannot conclude 100 percent that you are infected with streptococci. However, if there are already known cases in the children's environment (kindergarten, school, family), caution is advised. A visit to the pediatrician can now bring clarity.
3. A streptococcal infection in children is usually only the beginning
The swallowing symptoms of strep throat can be related to a throat infection
You are probably most afraid of your child getting scarlet fever or pharyngitis. Understandable, because these children's diseases cause the little ones swallowing difficulties and pain, which are accompanied by fever. Fluid loss is high, so children need to drink a lot to make up for it. And you have to be quite inventive to get your child to drink, even though swallowing causes such pain.
3.1. Strep throat in children often progresses to scarlet fever
The course of the disease varies from child to child. Some complain of difficulty swallowing, in others the throat is sometimes severely inflamed and they have a so-called strawberry or raspberry tongue. This causes the papillae of the tongue to protrude, which looks like a strawberry or raspberry. Some have only slight pain when swallowing, which disappears after a few days. If there is also a rash that starts in the crook of the arm, it is probably scarlet fever. The rash can spread over the whole body. Occur in children in the genital area.
Attention: If your child suffers from one or more of these signs, you should consult a doctor. Scarlet fever is often very painful. The symptoms will only get worse if left untreated.
The pediatrician examines the throat and lymph nodes. Normally, it is not necessary to take a smear test; scarlet fever in children can be diagnosed relatively clearly in this way. In case of doubt, however, such a smear test is evaluated in the shortest possible time.
Once the diagnosis has been made, treatment with antibiotics is the first choice to treat the streptococcal infection. Supportive pain juices are usually given to make it easier for your child to swallow.
Your child can then return to kindergarten or school a few days after starting the drug therapy, if he or she feels fit enough to do so. Ask your pediatrician how long you should leave your child at home to recover.
4. Streptococci can damage the heart and kidneys
Children with a streptococcal infection can also get heart or kidney damage. Therefore, a routine follow-up examination of urine and heart is carried out. However, with early treatment with appropriate medications, secondary disease is unlikely to occur.
As soon as the therapy is started with the appropriate medication, the risk of infection of third parties is almost zero after about two days. Without appropriate treatment, however, your child would remain contagious for weeks.
Tip: In case of illness you should leave your child at home for a few days. Once the symptoms have been overcome, a check-up with the pediatrician is recommended.